Sam Allardyce says that his side must handle the mental stresses and strains of the big occasion when they take on Norwich at Carrow Road on Saturday lunchtime, because if they don’t then the game could be up.
Norwich have a four point advantage over The Black Cats but have played a game more, although Sunderland don’t play that extra game against Everton until May 11th and it could be all done and dusted by then.
‘The lads have got to keep their nerve more than anything else going into Saturday’s game and until the end of the season,’ Allardyce said at Thursday’s pre-match media conference.
He continued: ‘If we handle the mental side of it, then technically we’ll be good enough.
‘If we don’t handle the mental side, then our technique and focus will let us down. This league is one that punishes you to extremes if you have lapses in concentration at any stage of the game.
‘We can’t afford those slips anymore. We had one on Sunday and [Jamie] Vardy put it in the back of the net [in last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to leaders Leicester City].
‘It’s time that we were the ones who took advantage of the opposition, rather than them taking advantage of us.’
A win for the visitors and it’s back in their hands but should they lose, a 7 point gap will open up which would bring its own mental strains. Sunderland know they have to win this match although just 3 wins in their previous 27 Premier League away games suggests that they’re not great on the road.
I feel a little bit sick.